POLO – After a sometimes spirited discussion, the City Council voted 4-2 Monday to combine the Water & Sewer Department with the Street Department.
Kendall Kyker, now street superintendent, will head the new Public Works Department effective May 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year.
Aldermen Jim Busser and Justin Grobe cast the no votes, while Phil Peterson, Troy Bothe, Keith Chesnut, and Randy Schoon voted yes to forming the new department.
Mayor Doug Knapp recommended combining the departments.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I became mayor,” he said.
The budgets will remain separate and all five employees’ duties will remain the same, but the change offers more efficiency, Knapp said.
“This way we can utilize all the employees in different aspects,” he said Tuesday. “They’ve always helped each other out. This will increase the harmony between the departments.”
The council has been discussing the change in closed session for the last month or so, he said.
Former Mayor Mark Scholl said he endorses the plan, but asked why the Parks Department is not being included.
“Because we’re considering forming a park district,” Knapp said.
Grobe said after the vote that he voted no because he wanted more information before making a decision.
Mike Mumford, now the water and sewer superintendent, is the only city employee who holds the required state licenses to operate both the water and sewer systems.
His wife, Dee, noted that he has taken emergency calls not only on weekends and in the middle of the night, but also when they have been on vacation.
Those calls now will go to Kyker, Knapp said, adding that Mumford’s duties will not change, and he will be the water and sewer operator under the Public Works structure.